Stripping Off The Fig Leaves
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. Genesis 3:6-7 NKJV
I find it interesting that we have an account of the fall of man that shows that as soon as Adam and Eve took of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they could no longer appreciate who God had made them be. Their first response was to sew fig leaves to hide from each other and God, who made them. This delight they had in God and His creation was destroyed through sin. But God has a plan to bring things back to how He intended them to be. God is working. I pray that this encourages you to allow God to complete the work that He has started in you. To strip off the fig leaves and allow you to be without shame and who He has made you be!
In the beginning, God walked with Adam in the cool of the evening. Adam was naked, completely free in who God had made him and just delighted to walk with his creator. Adam was known in the deepest sense, and that was how it was designed to be. God made Adam and Eve to be uncovered, open and able to be who God made them with no shame, fear or condemnation from themselves, others and even God. Through sin they had to cover themselves. Figleaves could represent the false or idealised selves we try to present to others to hide the shame we have about who we think we are. Robert Mulholland is a theologian who identified some qualities of the false self.
We fear our true identity will be revealed and our weakness will be exploited by others.
We perform to form a false image of who we actually are to impress ourselves and others.
We manipulate the world including people and situations so our security, prestige and agenda is always the most important thing.
We adopt religion to hide our real self. We portray we are someone that we are not through the way we speak the Bible, our knowledge and perform as a "Christian"
All actions that are a result of covering ourselves to hide who we truly are, destroy relationships. We can never know God, know ourselves and then become a member of the body of Christ that has been called to release God's glory; His plans and purposes on the earth. God is in the process of unveiling God's sons and daughters. This process is painful and involves the frightening stripping away of the fig leaves and uncovering or revealing what God has made Good. He has fearfully made us. He is working in our lives to cut off, prune, shake and uncover so we can become all He has made us be. I love this verse from Romans 8:
The entire universe is standing on tiptoe, yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious sons and daughters! Romans 8:19
If this uncovering is needed or even essential if we are to become the people He has made us be, what are some key things He is speaking to us about this in His Word?
1. God is causing all that is not from Him to burn up and be destroyed
The old order is being removed and His holy fire will remove all that is not holy and from Him. When we are walking with Him, He will burn up all that is in you that is not of Him. This is a painful process and hurts, but its worth it in the end. (leaves will not stand the fire...)
26 The earth was rocked at the sound of his voice from the mountain, but now he has promised,
“Once and for all I will not only shake the systems of the world, but also the unseen powers in the heavenly realm!”
27 Now this phrase “once and for all” clearly indicates the final removal of things that are shaking, that is, the old order, so only what is unshakeable will remain. 28 Since we are receiving our rights to an unshakeable kingdom we should be extremely thankful and offer God the purest worship that delights his heart as we lay down our lives in absolute surrender, filled with awe. 29 For our God is a holy, devouring fire!
2. God is chastising us as His children.
As our Heavenly Father, God loves his children and will correct us. This is not to hurt us, but to cause us to grow and become all He has made us be. We know that this correcting from God is so we can mature and grow to be all He has made us be. (He is stripping back all that we have covered ourselves with that is not from Him)
5 And have you forgotten his encouraging words spoken to you as his children? He said,
“My child, don’t underestimate the value of the discipline and training of the Lord God, or get depressed when he has to correct you. 6 For the Lord’s training of your life is the evidence of his faithful love. And when he draws you to himself, it proves you are his delightful child.”
7 Fully embrace God’s correction as part of your training, for he is doing what any loving father does for his children. For who has ever heard of a child who never had to be corrected?8 We all should welcome God’s discipline as the validation of authentic sonship. For if we have never once endured his correction it only proves we are strangers and not sons. Hebrews 12:5-8
3. God prunes us back and removes all things that are not useful.
When we know that there are areas of our lives that are not bearing fruit, their removal allows other areas of our lives to bear the fruit that they have been made to. We have to submit to God has the gardener to remove the unproductive parts of our branches so we can produce the most fruit. It hurts but it is so necessary. (Everything has to be removed that is not from Him)
“I am a true sprouting vine, and the farmer who tends the vine is my Father.2 He cares for the branches connected to me by lifting and propping up the fruitless branches and pruning every fruitful branch to yield a greater harvest. John 15:1-2
4. We can relax knowing that God will lift us and exalt us in His time.
Working hard to ensure that we are recognised and have our "ministry" and people see us in a good light is not our work. God will lift us as we wait in His presence and know all we are and all we do is because of Him. When we allow God to lead, direct, place us in the right places and release us in the good works He has made us for (Ephesians 2:10) we can relax and trust that it is all his doing, not ours. We just grow into His plans for us! (Under the leaves is what or even who God has made. He has fearfully and made us and He will lift us up to fulfil the plans He has for our lives)
6 If you bow low in God’s awesome presence, he will eventually exalt you as you leave the timing in his hands.
7 Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
5. God equips, teaches and releases us to do His will on the earth.
When we are walking as a son or daughter of God, we are equipped, given what we need and empowers us for what he gives us to do. You could say, then, that the work He does in us to equip us is all His work. When we minister it is as a result of how He made us and how He has equipped us for the things he has given us to do (with Him). Our role is to be open and willing to be trained and to speak the words He gives to us for others. Being humble to be taught and trained is an essential part of the process. (Allow God to grow you and know that there is no shame with God. Under the leaves is actually God's workmanship...no shame!)
4. The Lord Yahweh has equipped me
with the anointed, skilful tongue of a teacher—
to know how to speak a timely word to the weary.
Morning by morning, he awakens my heart.
He opens my ears to hear his voice, to be trained to teach.
7. The Lord Yahweh empowers me, so I am not humiliated.
For that reason, with holy determination,
I will do his will and not be ashamed. Isaiah 50:4 and 7.
6. Mature children do not operate independently but are moved and led by the Spirit of God
When we are enjoying walking with God and growing up to be a son or daughter we are released from any religious duty. We will always be good enough as this is not dependent on us but on the gift of grace, we receive through the death of Jesus on the cross. We are in fact released as we understand our identity which is unable to be changed by our circumstances, and we walk every day knowing we are loved deeply by God and are His child. In this freedom, we can both listen to God's Spirit and obey. (God is uncovering who we actually are now and who He has made us be... this process is exciting!)
14 The mature children of God are those who are moved by the impulses of the Holy Spirit. 15 And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty,” leading you back into the fear of never being good enough. But you have received the “Spirit of full acceptance,” enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father!” 16 For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, “You are God’s beloved child!” Romans 8:14-16
7. God's desire is for us to be made new.
God is taking us through the process where our old man or old self that was corrupted by sin, desires and wrong patterns of thinking and is re-creating us. God is taking us through a process of recreation. His Word and Spirit together are forming new patterns of thinking and understanding so you can become who He has made us be.
22 And he has taught you to let go of the lifestyle of the ancient man, the old self - life, which was corrupted by sinful and deceitful desires that spring from delusions. 23 Now it’s time to be made new by every revelation that’s been given to you. 24 And to be transformed as you embrace the glorious Christ-within as your new life and live in union with him! For God has re-created you all over again in his perfect righteousness, and you now belong to him in the realm of true holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24
8. New Wineskins
Having our leaves taken off and for us to walk free to be uncovered and all He has made us be is liberating. In Mark 2 Jesus talks about how new wineskins are needed. Many people are in a wilderness where God is pouring out the old wine, removing the old wineskin and preparing for the fresh release of His Spirit that is needed for us to walk in the new things He has for His uncovered people. Being uncovered allows God to do the work to replace the old wineskin with the new one and fill us so we can walk as God intended before the foundations of the earth... as sons and daughters of God. We can then fully represent God on earth and bring in lordship over all of creation.
22 And who would pour fresh, new wine into an old wineskin? Eventually, the wine will ferment and make the wineskin burst, losing everything—the wine will be spilled and the wineskin ruined. Instead, new wine is always poured into new wineskins.” Mark 2:22
Finally, I want to encourage you if you are going through a time of suffering. God is bringing you through a process where He is taking off the false self we have built up over many years and is releasing us into a new season where we can truly walk as sons and daughters of God. There may be weeping now, but God is releasing a time, soon, of ecstatic joy!! Get ready for it!
I’ve learned that his anger lasts for a moment,
but his loving favour lasts a lifetime!
We may weep through the night,
but at daybreak it will turn into shouts of ecstatic joy. Psalm 30:5
Meditate on these verses and may God encourage you as He does what He has promised. He is faithful and will complete the good work He has started in you! 6 I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you[b] and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ! Philippians 1:6
18 I am convinced that any suffering we endure is less than nothing compared to the magnitude of glory that is about to be unveiled within us. 19 The entire universe is standing on tiptoe, yearning to see the unveiling of God’s sons and daughters! 20 For against its will the universe itself has had to endure the empty futility resulting from the consequences of human sin. But now, with eager expectation, 21 all creation longs for freedom from its slavery to decay and to experience with us the wonderful freedom coming to God’s children. 22 To this day we are aware of the universal agony and groaning of creation as if it were in the contractions of labor for childbirth. 23 And it’s not just creation. We who have already experienced the firstfruits of the Spirit also inwardly groan as we passionately long to experience our full status as God’s sons and daughters—including our physical bodies being transformed. 24 For this is the hope of our salvation. Romans 8:18-24